Tag Archives: Bus

Travel to FCM — I Hate Greyhound

So I am going to FCM in Toronto and this time I can take the bus round trip for $42.00. If the stress doesn’t kill me. Booked my ticket on-line, non refundable. After several false starts, got the ticket and found it was from Sportsworld instead of Charles St terminal. Phoned 800 number, they were no help at all. No refund and no way to buy a Greyhound ticket from Charles St. to Sportsworld. You may remember the hoo ha when Greyhound stopped allowing the Region through the GRT ticket office to sell their tickets. They were going to drop Charles St. terminal all together as a stop but we managed to negiotiate that they would sell tickets on the platform. 

Why O Why did they move their stop to Sportsworld!!!  So stuck with the ticket. The good news, used EasyGo and a GRT route goes from Charles St. to Fairview then I get the 52 and it takes about a half hour. Just I have to leave the GRAAC meeting after an hour. So annoying.

Still a shorter time than the GO to get to Toronto.

Elmira Maple Syrup Festival by Train and Bus 21

Took the train up to the Elmira Maple Syrup festival this morning. The Waterloo Central Railway is run by volunteers and is always a joy to ride. Lots of kids on it.

We returned on the #21, the new bus from Elmira to St. Jacobs, to the market, to Walmart and then to Conestoga Mall. It was quicker than driving because it went around the Syrup festival traffic jam.

Perhaps I should say the “infamous” 21 bus as a column in the Record this morning called it a “political” and “social” bus, whatever that means.

The bus is a trial bus to see if there is a need for transit to Elmira. Without the bus there is no way to get to and from Elmira other than by car or hitchhiking (BTW, this is the problem in British Columbia on the Road of Tears; people have to hitchhike because there is no bus and women have disappeared on the road

Bus 21

Just off bus 21.

)

As for this being a political bus, it won’t help me. People in Elmira and St. Jacobs don’t vote for me, I’m a councillor from Waterloo. Also, Mayor Bill Strauss resisted this bus for many years as he had worked for the Cherry Busline to and from Elmira and remembered when it went out of business due to lack of use. His famous line when the GRT bus started, “Use it or lose it.”

The bus has been extended for a year because it is showing growth in passengers.

The social bus idea, I just don’t get. A social service because people without cars ride on it?

Exerpt from the report

The Route 21 pilot service to Elmira began operation on April 6th 2009. This service connects Elmira with the Conestoga Mall transit terminal, including stops in the St. Jacobs’ core, at the St. Jacobs Farmer’s Market/Outlet Mall and the new Wal-Mart Centre.

Overall, the route is demonstrating positive ridership trends as the average weekday ridership has risen from 158 riders in April to almost 315 riders in December. There was some decrease in weekday ridership during the summer months, which is traditionally the case for transit ridership across the system. Market day ridership on Saturdays has risen from approximately 270 in April to 585 December.

Ridership continues to increase on Route 21 ELMIRA and the boardings per service hour have increased to 21 in December 2009 and continue to move towards the minimum performance target of 25. Based on experience with new routes in urban areas, a one-year trial period may be insufficient to evaluate fully a routes ridership potential. It can be expected that a new route to a rural township would also require more than a year to achieve its ridership potential. Therefore, it is recommended that the pilot service continue in operation for one additional year until early 2011.

Positive feedback from high school and university students, commuters and seniors, who have used the service, suggests that it provides residents of the Township of Woolwich a valuable transportation alternative. Planned outreach events will increase community awareness and confidence in using the service, which will contribute to ongoing increases in ridership.

In early 2011, staff propose to report back to Regional Council on the performance of Route 21 ELMIRA

Regional Budget passes at 2.6 percent

Well the budget didn’t go to as low a percent as I would have wished, but the Regional budget came in at 1.78 % and the police budget at .88%.  (Approx 38 dollars per YEAR on the tax bill) Remember, the police board not Regional council sets the police budget, we just pay the bill.

Police halved their request and ended up with 10 new officers and 10 new civilians. 5 of those civilians will be prison guards for the courts and stations, and that will free up 5 officers to get back on the street. Not only will the new officers be working on crime prevention as they patrol but the Region is growing and no matter how low crime, we still have a lot and need more officers for growth.

I won some and lost some on the budget.

I wanted some of the 8 million in infrastructure funds that come from the federal government to be used to offset the increase for the system that calls out stops and has a gps for the buses and for solving the bus overcrowding problem on the mainline, number 9 Lakeshore and 12 and Iexpress. That didn’t fly and neither did my suggestion that the one million we took out of roads last year that was put back in (This is extra money that increases the roads budget each year, so it gets higher and higher) be taken out again this year.

On the plus side, I asked the head of finance about the gaping provision where if someone leaves the region and a person is hired for less money, that the budget be adjusted to the new rate instead of staying at the old one (hope that is clear). Jim Wideman  made sure that extra money was taken out for this gap when he and the other committee heads got together with staff to find some more cuts.

There were also rumblings that we should have no improvements but delegations and myself argued for the callouts of stops on the buses as required by the Human Rights tribunal and money to stop the overcrowding on buses. If we want to have a full LRT, we can’t have people stopping using the buses due to overcrowding. Also, all councillors agreed that daycare will be maintained at the present rate and we will see how the new all day jk and sk goes.

Bus to the St. Jacob’s Market

When I drive up to the St. Jacob’s Market, it’s a zoo. No place to park. Have to go round and round, even following people who might be leaving to get a spot. Kind of defeats the whole local food thing.
So Saturday morning I gathered up my shopping trolley and took the bus. Number 9 to Conestoga Mall then the number 21 to the market.
It was great. I had time to run into the bank to get some money, saving a dollar fifty at the market ATM.
The bus was full, some people standing.
The woman beside me told me all about her birthday and her grown sons, the good one and the bad one. Reminded me of the Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence.
I filled up my bag, it was heavy to wheel around but I use it when I take the car too. But it was so nice to not have to sit in the traffic and I didn’t have to worry about a parking spot, just got off and on the bus.
There is also a tourist train to the market which is fun.

Bus to the St. Jacob's Market

When I drive up to the St. Jacob’s Market, it’s a zoo. No place to park. Have to go round and round, even following people who might be leaving to get a spot. Kind of defeats the whole local food thing.
So Saturday morning I gathered up my shopping trolley and took the bus. Number 9 to Conestoga Mall then the number 21 to the market.
It was great. I had time to run into the bank to get some money, saving a dollar fifty at the market ATM.
The bus was full, some people standing.
The woman beside me told me all about her birthday and her grown sons, the good one and the bad one. Reminded me of the Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence.
I filled up my bag, it was heavy to wheel around but I use it when I take the car too. But it was so nice to not have to sit in the traffic and I didn’t have to worry about a parking spot, just got off and on the bus.
There is also a tourist train to the market which is fun.

Light Rapid Transit

I was at Waterloo City Hall tonight as Regional staff presented the latest about Light Rapid Transit. (On Rogers TV if you get it, council is televised tonight)
After the presentation, I was standing beside Mike Murray, our CEO as the press interviewed him, but the Chronicle wasn’t interested in a quote from me. One of the reasons I started this blog, so you can hear from me.
So here’s some info and thoughts about Light Rapid Transit.
We wil be having a public meeting in Regional council chambers on June 10 at 5 pm. Then final decision on June 24 between bus or light rail and the route. Here is the address of more LRT info
http://rapidtransit.region.waterloo.on.ca/

Tonight, Waterloo city council asked for a route that passes the R and T park, UW and WLU then the Iexpress route down King St. It was not clear but the block between Bridgeport and Erb cannot accommodate the LRT without removing car lanes and parking! So city counicl proposes one line down King and another down Bridgeport/Caroline. This will cost more than using the rail spur through Waterloo Park. The problem may be solved by running an Iexpress or Iexpress up University in the short term and streetcar or LRT/BRT along all along University in the long term.
Also, Stan Rektor made a presentation and I need to correct a few things.
Not the fact that the LRT will cost alot! It will, see the info in the link. Stan was right about that, though the proposed cost is 790 million not the 1.3 billion if we did the whole line as LRT.
Stan wants a pipeline to the Lake, preferrably Huron. He may be the only person in Waterloo keen on that. Despite what the article said in the Chronicle, Waterloo Region has enough groundwater for the 750,000 people in the future, particularly if we keep conserving. A pipeline may be needed around 2035.
We are presently building a bridge across Fairway Road to Kossuth, for around 50 million not 500 million, so that job is underway.
We cannot go on increasing and widening roads and increasing car traffic because we do not have the capacity, not to mention pollution and air quality.
We need to intensify in the cores to save our farmland and sensitive lands and water quality. So we must have a public transit solution.
After much thought and a long preference for Bus Rapid Transit, I have come round to the Light Rapid Transit. As long as we get most of the start up money from the province and the feds. Both BRT and LRT are incredibly expensive, but the rail has the most other benefits.
By the Way, how about the costs of building roads? Add it up and you will soon get over a billion dollars.
I’m glad Stan likes the new Ira Needles Road with its ring roads though.

More later on my thoughts about Cambridge.